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Entries posted by john.hazlehurst

Is state pension fund really ‘fixed?’

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During the last legislative session, lawmakers “fixed” the state’s Public Employees Retirement Association pension fund, principally by diverting 0.5 percent of employee raises to PERA for the next six years and introducing a “rule of 85” for retirement eligibility.
But an analysis of PERA’s finances indicates that its unfunded liability, far from decreasing in future years, could easily increase. And, questions exist concerning mortality assumptions by PERA’s actuaries and about PERA’s projected rates of return on its investment portfolio that raise red flags about the long-term solvency of the pension plan. Continue Reading Is state pension fund really ‘fixed?’

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The devil is in the details of the metrics

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“The kudos keep on coming!”
Such was the subscript of a giddy, triumphal e-mail from Dave White at the Greater Colorado Springs Economic Development Corp., giving your columnist (and hundreds of other recipients) the good news — Forbes magazine had just ranked Colorado fifth in business climate.
Coming on the heels of Money magazine’s No. 1 ranking of our fair city, that’s great news for the EDC folks. Continue Reading The devil is in the details of the metrics

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The City of Colorado Springs intends to establish a “Solicitation Exclusion Zone,” which would include most of downtown, according to Police Commander Kurt Pillard, who heads the Gold Hill Division, which includes downtown.
Pillard said that individuals who have been convicted of aggressive panhandling will be barred from the zone for a year. Such individuals, once identified, would be subject to immediate arrest if found within the boundaries of the zone. Continue Reading Springs considering ‘solicitation exclusion zone’

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Paying a price for squeezing government

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All through the 1990s, the Colorado Springs economy boomed, as did Denver’s, as did the nation’s. But, like a man starving in the midst of plenty, city government couldn’t benefit from the boom — the Bruce amendments simply deprived it of the resources needed to cope with growth. Urgently needed reconstructive work was postponed, and decaying infrastructure was patched, rather than replaced. Continue Reading Paying a price for squeezing government

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De Marsche debunks museum director image

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Art museums are often perceived as elitist guardians of high culture, or as forbiddingly didactic educational institutions or as contemptuous of the beliefs and values of the very visitors whom they seek to attract.
Not in Colorado Springs.
“For many museums, I think that’s in the past,” said Michael De Marsche, CEO of the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center. “I know that we’re completely focused on the quality of the experience that our members and visitors have — that they should expect and get the very best.” Continue Reading De Marsche debunks museum director image

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Hopefully Lamborn knows his business

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“I’ll tell you, Rivera’s the big loser here … Tomorrow morning, the sharks are gonna be circling — (Jerry) Heimlicher, (Larry) Small, (Scott) Hente; any one of ’em could beat him next April. He shoulda stayed out of the race.”
-Seasoned Political Observer Continue Reading Hopefully Lamborn knows his business

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Springs a couple ‘tiers’ from the top

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Experience Colorado Springs at Pikes Peak, the convention and visitors bureau, is hardly unique. More than 450 cities in the United States have similar organizations, as do hundreds of cities abroad.
Almost all are funded by hotel lodging taxes, and all compete for the same pool of business and leisure travelers. Continue Reading Springs a couple ‘tiers’ from the top

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CVB adapting to change

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For 15 years, Terry Sullivan worked to bring Colorado Springs a convention center that, in his opinion, the city desperately needed.
But, in a stunning defeat for proponents, voters approved a ballot initiative in 2004 that barred the city from using tax money to plan such a facility. At first dismayed, the longtime CEO of Experience Colorado Springs at Pikes Peak, the convention and visitors bureau, says that he has accepted the results of the vote, and has moved on. Continue Reading CVB adapting to change

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Feral men, urban blight, trading spaces

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Wandering through downtown the other day, I was struck by the strange disconnect between what our businessmen, politicians and downtown promoters say as opposed to what they actually do.
What they say: we want a vibrant, vital, robust (see how well I’ve absorbed their buzzwords) downtown, with a stimulating mix of retail, restaurants and bars, residences, offices, art galleries, theaters, restored historic buildings … a festive mix of everything that anyone might want. And what do we have? Continue Reading Feral men, urban blight, trading spaces

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Does the Pikes Peak region get its fair share of state and federal transportation funding?
That question was asked to several local elected officials. To a man, and to a woman, they agreed: It doesn’t.
Randy Purvis, having served almost four terms on the Colorado Springs City Council (1987-1999, 2003-present), was brief and to the point. “We never have,” he said. Continue Reading Transportation capital: the long and winding roads

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